Young conductor makes Scottish debut. Two weeks later, she’s back.

Young conductor makes Scottish debut. Two weeks later, she’s back.


norman lebrecht

February 02, 2017

Elim Chan made her Scottish début with the Royal Scottish National Oorchestra last week in Kirkcaldy and Musselburgh, conducting Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture and Italian Symphony, and other pieces.

She clicked straight away with the orchestra.

So Elim, 30, has been asked to come back the week after next, deputising for Neeme Järvi, who is unwell.


  • John Borstlap says:

    Great that female conductors become more visible in music life, and great that they appear to be so good. When will we see a black woman on the balcony at St Peter’s Square? And when will gender stop being an issue?

    • Bruce says:

      When traditions are no longer so iron-clad that any variation from them is a surprise.

      (By the way, no special mention was made of Ms. Chan’s gender.)

      • AnnaT says:

        One indication that gender is no longer “an issue” will be when the John Borstlaps of the world stop using imaginary figures like black female Popes to illustrate how preposterous they find it all to be. NL described a young conductor’s success. I don’t hear you pissing and moaning when he does that for men.

        • John Borstlap says:

          Well, but actually I was serious about the black pope. Already there are many African cardinals, and there has been some rumbling about female catholic priests (I think that did not come-off as yet). The RC church being one of the most explicit symbols of patriarchy, female and / or African priests would be a symbol of improvement, and when this would result, in some 200 years, in an African female pope, that would really mean something – probably the religion would by that time have undergone a thorough reform as well. After all, religions are (also) symbols of value.

          There is a story that there has already been a female pope, but it is contested:

  • Malcolm James says:

    The RSNO are still looking for a new MD. I wonder?

    • Iain Scott says:

      My bet is on the amazing John Storgards who has now conducted the orchestra three times in diverse repertoire. An incredible musician and , judging by the orchestra’s response to him, a front runner .
      Gave an electric Mahler 1 and a beautiful Schubert 9.

  • Ben says:

    She still has much room to grow … but a promising conductor regardless of gender.

  • Bruce says:

    I remember reading a comment some years ago on that Joshua Bell (I think it was) was “one of the best male violinists” currently playing. Still makes me smile 😀

  • M2N2K says:

    Both as a listener and as a performer, I had a chance to see Elim Chan in action on a couple of occasions last year, and she made a very good impression. She definitely is a talented conductor. It remains to be seen exactly how good she might become after a few more years of conducting experience.